1,000 Ways To Start a Painting

Okay, there are  TONS of ways to begin a painting. Maybe not 1,000 but than again, I haven’t tried all of the ways! But what I do know is that there are many different ways to begin. A lot of the ways to start I have found from various sources. Many are magazines. The Artist’s Magazine and International Artist Magazine are just two out of many. But mainly my “go-to” ones. Other places are books, teachers and good ole” trial and error.

Therefore today I wanted to talk about a few ways I like to start and give you resources to expand your starting points on. Let’s roll on!

TAYLOR’S WAYS (sounds so official don’t you think?)

  • Simplest way is to sketch out your layout on your canvas. I prefer to use vine charcoal. It’s easy to wipe away plus the lines are clear enough to see. Using graphite I would not recommend. It doesn’t erase as well and at times it will show through your transparent paint. Which can be a good thing but to me it’s a little distracting. Charcoal gives you a little more freedom to make needed changes without the hassle of graphite.
  • Do a monochromatic scheme (most well known as an under painting!). This is similar (like most ways) to sketching out your layout with charcoal, only using a colored paint scheme.  The usual colors for an under painting are any type of earth tone. (ex. burnt umber). You can really use any color. At times it depends on the piece you are doing. If you want a cool feel you might choose a colbolt blue or ultramarine blue. As you continue painting you can have your under painting pop through, which gives a great feel.
  • Block in your main colors. Keep your colors limited on this one. I would say 3-4 colors. If you use to many, you lose your focus. When you block in your colors think of mass shapes. Sketch out your layout first or go for it with the colors. Up to you! Remember, at this point it’s not about detail, just shapes.
  • Do a detailed drawing. This one I rarely do. Similar to sketching, but with more, well…..detail. Fall back on this one if you are really detailed oriented or have a lot going on in your piece. If you feel as if you have too much going on you may want to rethink your piece. Take your time on this one too, when it comes to detail you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.

Four types for you to think about! All-in-all it will be trial and error and it will at times depends on your piece. Here are a few links to try out for more resources:




www.youtube.com (many artists will post previews or quick tips on youtube!)

Like always go out and create. Even if you think your painting isn’t the greatest you did it! You went for it! Go for it again and push yourself. If you want to get better with anything you work on it. We all need a starting point, so go take yours!

Find me on Facebook and my website for more tips, original art, and prints!


Website: www.taylornichczynski.com

Winter Forest was created using the "block in" process.
Winter Forest was created using the “block in” process. I used mainly blue, white and a hit of green. I kept the shapes large and worked down to the details as the painting progressed.



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